Minor Gitmo news

There’s news of two supposed revelations of horrors at Guantanamo’s detention camp.

No, not really new news.

First, we have an MI5 officer ready to testify to having witnessed “torture” at Guantanamo. I first spotted this at The Sunday Times, but it requires a subscription I don’t have.

Other British newspapers followed, including the Telegraph, but only the Times says when it allegedly happened: December 2002.

Well, as is already known (and in my book, Guantanamo Clarity), that’s when most of the roughest techiques were authorized there. For about six weeks, some detainees had their beards shaved off and had to listen to music they didn’t like. Only one detainee had actual sleep deprivation then (four hours per night; Gitmo never had the long durations, as the CIA did at black sites). The air conditioning might have been turned up, or off, but no more than the guards and interrogators could handle, as they had to live with it, too. And neither the Army nor the Navy did waterboarding.

If I had to guess, I’d say he’s talking about Mohammed al-Qahtani (ISN 63). He’s the only one who got the really roughest stuff at Guantanamo. But he’s old news. Maybe this MI5 officer just wants to write a book. We’ll watch this with interest.

FYI: (Qahtani’s records are here.)

The second news is more of the same old stuff. Former soldier Joseph Hickman had been claiming for years that the detainee suicides of June 2006 were staged. He was a guard that night at the gate when a van used for ferrying detainees left the building and went in the direction of Camp 7. To the Gitmo-haters, that can only mean the game is afoot.

Some people put two and two together and get four, while others must get out their old calculus textbooks.

Hickman decided to pursue this, and it turned into an award-winning story (for someone else). The Weekly Standard did a good job taking it down.

Guantanamo had so many attempted suicides over the years. Until that time, they’ve always been stopped by the watchful guard force. What’s really funny is how America’s critics generally blamed these attempts on immense sadness over indefinite detention — although, let’s face it, too many had already been released by then. They insist that the detainees should be permitted to kill themselves if they want to, as in their hunger strikes.

Then, as soon as any do manage to kill themselves, the very same people who claim it’s natural to prefer suicide, will suddenly find reasons to pretend that the few genuine suicides that succeeded were not actually suicides at all. They were, they claim, murder. Naturally, Hickman himself says that he believes the later suicides were probably murder as well.

None of that is new. Hickman’s book was published last year by Simon and Shuster. A trade size edition will be out in February. Some people will buy anything.

What is new is that Hickman now has an interview in RT.com, a.k.a. Russia Today. This is the Russian government’s English language propaganda website. Iran’s own PressTV.ir has a note on the interview, but not yet an actual interview of their own. I wonder how long it will be before Hickman makes a call there.